Diabetes Increase Tied to New Antipsychotic Drug Class

A study comparing patients taking decades-old antipsychotic drugs to patients taking newer drugs has indicated an increase in diabetes in patients taking the newer drugs.

The study which examined pharmacy and patient-care databases for fiscal 1999 through 2001 found that patients taking newer drugs such as AstraZeneca’s Seroquel, Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal, generic clozapine and Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa had anywhere from 1.27 to 3.34 times as many cases of diabetes when compared to patients taking older medications, such as haloperidol, thioridazine and others.

The study could have an influence on the Food and Drug Administration, which is currently deciding whether to order labeling changes for the leading drugs.  However, the results of the study suggest than any label changes could apply to the entire class of newer antipsychotic drugs as opposed to individual drugs.  According to various leading clinical psychiatrists and research, schizophrenia patients typically have a higher rate of diabetes than the general population, making it difficult to evaluate the possible link of diabetes and antipsychotic drugs.

Source:  The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2003.